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The Butterfly Effect

A 2004 movie written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber.

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Ashton, Seriously?

  • Jan 24, 2004
Pros: Chaos theory is always interesting, fantastic actors, great ending

Cons: The guy behind me

The Bottom Line: See this film, but make sure you don't bite your fingernails to the cuticle like I did.

I saw the preview for this movie a few weeks ago, and told my boyfriend not to let me pass this one up. He kept his word, and took me out last night to see it, and although I don't regret seeing the film one bit, I do regret seeing it in public, and I'll explain why later.

My first thoughts when I saw the previews for Butterfly Effect were, "Okay, where's the joke?" I cannot recall a film where Ashton Kutcher has played a serious role, and I think its a good call. He needs some seriousness on his resume, though most teens don't really seem to care.

In Butterfly Effect, Ashton Kutcher plays Evan, a boy who, when younger, had blackouts often, and doctors couldn't exactly figure out why. The movie starts "13 years ago." Evan's father also had blackouts, and at this time, he's in a hospital; Evan only gets to meet his father once, but we learn throughout that movie that Evan's symptoms (abilities) are very similar to his fathers. Evan struggles with trying to be a normal kid; keeping a journal like his doctor suggested, and playing with other kids his age. Evan's mother takes him to George Miller's house to be babysat, with George's children Kayleigh and Tommy Miller. Evan has a blackout while being babysat, but the viewer gets the impression that George is trying to capture Kayleigh and Evan in a child pornography film.

About six years later, Evan, Kayleigh, Tommy, and a boy named Lenny are all friends, doing teenage-type things. Tommy finds a stick of dynomite, and wants to put it in a neighbor's mailbox. They all stand back while Lenny puts it in the mailbox, but as Evan is flirtatiously putting his hands over Kayleigh's ears, he has a blackout. His blackout stops and we find Evan and Tommy dragging Lenny through the woods, Kayleigh frantically yelling and running along. Evan, of course, stops to ask what's going on, as he obviously can't remember, but they won't tell him.

The teens (minus Lenny, who was apparently injured in the dynomite accident) go to a movie, during which Evan "puts the moves on" Kayleigh, and Tommy gets overly angry. It's clear that Tommy is jealous of Evan's growing relationship with Kayleigh. Later, Kayleigh and Evan go to get Lenny and walk in the woods, where they stumble upon Tommy trying to hurt something that belongs to Evan. Evan, of course, has another blackout. Evan's mother decides its time they move.

About seven years later, we find Evan (now played by Ashton Kutcher) in college, living the life as a scholar. One night, he begins reading his old journals, and decides to go back and question Kayleigh about what really happened during some of his blackouts. Kayleigh gets upset, and Evan finds out later that they'll never be able to see each other again.

What follows are several attempts Evan makes at changing the fate of his beloved Kayleigh, whom he never got a real chance with. Evan finds that he has the ability to go back to the periods where he blacked out, and change the way things happen. The only trouble is, can he do it right, so that no one gets hurt? Evan finds himself in many situations, some of which he at first thinks may finally be perfection, only to find something that makes the situation unbearable. All he wants to do is erase the pain from Kayleigh's life, but is it possible?

This movie is seriously one of the best I have seen in awhile. Who knew that Ashton Kutcher could act so seriously, and in such a fantastic film? Earlier, I said I wished I hadn't seen the film in public. Reason: I bawled my eyes out, but I didn't notice anyone else in the theatre crying, so of course I felt very silly. There were several parts in the film where I found myself jumping, biting my nails down to the cuticle, or flinching, or simply crying. Not to say there were no funny parts, because there certainly were. Butterfly Effect did a good job of showing consequences of trying to alter things to fit yourself. It was a love story, a sci-fi story, a horror story, and once in awhile there was some comedy.

The ending is surely going to be the part everyone disagrees about. My boyfriend said he though I probably would have ended it differently, but I don't think I would have. Of course, I don't want to give it away, but I think it suits the situation perfectly.

The characters were all very wonderful, and the way their looks altered for each situation was amazing. All three Evan's looked just as you would expect them too, and the actors also did a magnificent job of playing the character so similarly. Kayleigh looked fairly close to each person she was, as did Tommy and Lenny. Lenny's character changed dramatically in each situation, and he played the parts amazingly.

The only thing I didn't like when I saw this movie was the annoying guy behind me. Which means, I loved everything about the movie.

This move may not be appropriate for younger children, as there is some bad language and sexual themes. This is a movie I suggest everyone see at some point; the lesson is clear, and the story is perfect. I will be thinking about this film for days.

Ashton Kutcher- Evan
Amy Smart- Kayleigh Miller
Elden Henson- Lenny
William Lee Scott- Tommy
Logan Lerman- Evan (age 8)
John Patrick Amedori- Evan (age 13)
Cameron Bright- Tommy (age 8)
Jesse James- Tommy (age 13)
Sarah Widdows- Kayleigh (age 7)
Irene Gorovaia- Kayleigh (age 13)
Kevin Schmidt- Lenny (age 13)


Movie Mood: Date Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing

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November 18, 2010
This was better than I thought it would be, great review.
More The Butterfly Effect reviews
review by . July 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I did really like the movie. I thought it was really creative and thought provoking. The only beef I have with it is that it was kind of sadistic. Burning a dog, blowing up a baby, child porn.. But I try to justify it with the fact that all of it is changed in the end. My brother was half watching it when I was watching it and then left saying this movie is depressing and sick and I was all "wait stay it gets better!" but I do wish it didn't have those things in it, but, what can …
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie and found the way everything was interwoven together was excellent.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Ashton played a very great charachter in the film. The film was exciting
review by . March 05, 2009
I love these types of films. A movie of alternate realities where each small shift in the past causes a completely different present. Each time you watch in anticipation of the twist for the new reality.     Kutcher is a troubled youth who was molested along with a young girl, by the girl's father and later is bullied by the girl's brother. The girl ends up committing suicide and Kutcher's life is haunted by his past. Kutcher is told by his analyst to keep a diary of everything …
review by . November 12, 2008
The Butterfly Effect
For such an intriguing subject as `time travel' (using the term loosely), there are very few stories, much less movies, that can carry off the subject with an interesting approach. `The Butterfly Effect' falls into the rank of excellence along with the movie `Donnie Darko' and the book `Replay' by Ken Grimwood.     Evan Treborn (played surprisingly well by Aston Kutcher) has been plagued by strange memory blackouts throughout his childhood, usually occurring at traumatic times …
review by . November 17, 2008
This movie shows that Ashton Kutcher can morph from playful goofball to serious actor when required, breaking the stereotype of previous roles in "That 70's Show", "Dude, Where's My Car?", "Punk'd", and "Just Married".     In this dark and depressing movie, Kutcher plays Evan Treborn, a young man who has been experiencing memory lapses since childhood. After these "black-outs" he has absolutely no recollection of what has happened, and despite many tests, the medical profession …
review by . December 17, 2008
Excellent acting by Ashton Kutcher and the other cast. Movie's very similar to Frequency, except for the problems are numerous and considerably darker.  An unforgettable story about the complication of life. Great thought-provoking storyline. I couldn't think a movie can impress me like this. A simple film has impressed me, like vibration of a butterfly's wing the half world.
review by . April 27, 2007
I thought the movie was great psychological thriller, involving a pretty typical storyline about alterations to the past causing the future to turn out in "unexpected ways"... rarely ever the way the protagonist really wants it to be. This is one of those movies that will keep your full attention for the entire length. Ashton Kutcher, in his first serious role, plays surprisingly well in this movie. He shows us a side that I hope we'll see again. But for the kind of person he is, Kutcher does an …
review by . September 07, 2004
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT is an oddly controversial film. Marketed as a star turn for Ashton Kutcher, it is more a film that, despite its big budget and excessive special effects, should have played the small art theaters. Well, now, in the solitude of the home, the film can be watched for what it really is - an interesting concept based on the Chaos Theory: one tiny event can have cosmic end effects. The title references this theory: the flutter of a butterfly wing can result in a chain of events that …
review by . April 19, 2004
In this new dramatic film featuring Ashton Kutcher & Amy Smart, Kutcher's character is introduced when he is a child and appears to have blocked memories and blackouts associated with psychological stressors. Then he is a teen with similar issues, and then he appears as a college student (where Kutcher becomes the character). At this point, he starts going through his old journals and his mind goes back to traumatic childhood episodes, where he discovers that he can change what happened by mentally …
About the reviewer
Laura Elizabeth 'Anderson' Brack ()
Ranked #321
I'm brand new to Lunch and looking to get settled. I write on epinions.com as laurashrti, and enjoy writing product reviews.      I'm a 27-year-old library employee working … more
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About this movie


Starring Ashton Kutcher, Ethan Suplee, Melora Walters, Amy Smart
Directed by Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Writers:  Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber

Product Description
A young man struggling to access sublimated childhood memories finds a technique that allows him to travel back to the past. Occupying his childhood body, he is able to change history. But every change he makes has unexpected consequences.
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Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release Date: January 23, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr 53min
Studio: BenderSpink , New Line Cinema
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"Ashton, Seriously?"
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